Novel competition for young refugees

Monday, 15 August 2016

Kicking goals together - ACU and MDA program for young migrants and refugees The Rohingya Young Stars soccer team.

A new program for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds linking them to education, training, employment and sport starting in Brisbane on Wednesday.

A novel program kicking off in Brisbane on Wednesday 17 August is mixing sport and work readiness training to give young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds the chance to develop physical, social and professional skills in order to flourish in Brisbane’s inner North.

Kicking Goals Together brings young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds together with students and staff at Australian Catholic University (ACU) for a Futsal competition and work readiness program developed by MDA (formerly the Multicultural Development Association).

Six teams will join the Futsal competition, including the Rohingya Young Stars*, an ACU Exercise Science team and other mixed ACU student teams.

The weekly contest will see players battle it out on the pitch for an hour before joining a workshop for another hour.

Kicking Goals Together is a joint initiative between ACU’s Institute for Advancing Community Engagement (IACE); ACU’s School of Exercise Science; ACU’s Department of Health, Sport, and Wellbeing; and MDA.

About Skill Up

  • For young people from refugee or migrant background, aged 15 to 24
  • Available to those who have arrived in Australia in the last five years
  • Involves around 250 young men and women
  • Links participants to education, training, employment and sport
  • Funded by the Department of Social Services and piloted by ACU and MDA as part of the Migrant Youth Vision Project (MYVP)

IACE researcher and exercise science lecturer Matthew Pink, said Skill-Up helped young people identify their personal strengths, allowing them to work on helpful workplace skills.

“They love it, and through working with ACU they have the time, space, and facilities. It also provides an activity at ACU we can attach the Skill-Up program to,” Dr Pink said.

“This represents a 'sport plus sport for development’ project where developmental activities are structured around sport to achieve community outcomes.”

Skill-Up will accommodate the participants’ range of English-speaking ability and educational level. For some the aim is to help complete school or a TAFE qualification, for others the classes focus on workplace proficiencies. At the end of the eight-week program, local businesses and other community partners will be invited to participate in mock interviews, giving participants employment experience in a professional situation.

MDA Youth Engagement Officer Anna Tate said the whole community prospers when young people are educated, employed and active.

“This pilot is an excellent example of people coming together to make a difference in the future of not only young people, but of our whole community,” she said.

ACU Associate Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Nyland will officially launch Kicking Goals Together at an opening ceremony at ACU’s campus in Banyo. Competition kicks off with a round of Futsal followed by an opening ceremony, including Acknowledgement of Country and Christian and Islamic prayers as a means of respect and inclusion, followed by food and celebration.

* The Rohingya Young Stars. ACU staff and students have been working with a group of young Rohingya people from the local community who started their own soccer team with no other resources than their initiative and enthusiasm. The Rohingya people are among the most persecuted people in the world and their own country does not recognise them as Burmese citizens. Around 1.3 million Rohingya people live in camps on the Thai Burma border. Many refugees have settled in Brisbane.